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Old 09-27-2016, 06:19 PM   #31
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I see so many of these that are kind of a scam to sell the bags at inflated prices, or seem that way to me. Any input from those who have used them?

For me $60-70 for a good one is my food budget for a week. It has to justify that to be a useful purchase, do you folks that have it think it does? I'd be happy if it would save me a week's budget on a year, I just worry about buying bags, etc... I can already buy ziplocs and freezer paper kind of cheap.

Now I could play about with sous vide cooking, but that is more a vanity than a justification for a practical expense.

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Old 09-27-2016, 06:25 PM   #32
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I have a Vac Master 215. Prices have come down a lot since I bought mine, but bags are much cheaper for a chamber vac than the Foodsaver ones.

I use it all the time and have family that buy hundreds of lbs. of meat when it goes on sale. They bring it over and we will seal them, I'll generally get some for helping them out.
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Old 09-27-2016, 06:38 PM   #33
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Hmnn. Ok lets think about this logic style. I use in food storage two rolls of freezer paper per year, about five gallon and a dozen quart boxes of ziplock bags. I think we will take saran wrap out of the equation, as this could be used for some things I do that to, but wouldn't be a replacement.

$8 for the freezer paper $30 for the big bags, and $60 for the small ones, so I'm in $98 on food storage just in bags. And this is with low waste and reusing.

So a good one looks to cost low $50 (adjusted that down) High $170 deluxe all the belles and whistles. I expect from that my cost would be about $60.

Add rolls of bags, and not sure how that would work, say $40 a year to keep me in bags? Am I reasonable? I think I am overestimating the cost of the machine if I shop about and underestimating the cost of the bags.

$100 would be my cost.

There is also a side benefit, having this should reduce spoilage, so it will reduce my food costs. We are hell on spoilage (forgive the bad language) around here, but we still do lose about $20-$60 a month. ($60 was not our fault, power out). If a vac packer could reduce that, say, by half, it would meet the cost.

And also be much cooler. Plus I an think of a couple of ways it would help with camping. Good pull on the TP idea. I can think of several other seldom used things I'd be happier to have in a vacuum pack.

I think I will put this in the purchase list on my next monthly financial status of the household meeting with my Beloved Wife. Unless you tell me the rolls of bags are very expensive, I think the numbers seem to work, even on the short term, and then it is a sunk cost, and we get vac pack for free with just the cost of bags.

Anyone an accountant here? numbers seem to work well.

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Old 09-27-2016, 08:19 PM   #34
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Bags are expensive, specially if you buy the brand name ones. Given how much you spend on ziplocks ($100), I'd guess your bag cost to be much more than your estimate. I bought no name 8" wide bags today. Two 20 foot long rolls for $8.98. There are also 11" wide bags for more $$. If you were sealing a single chicken breast, you'd need a bag several inches beyond the size just to fit the chicken as there has to be a length that reaches the sealing mechanism in the machine. Not sure how much that is yet.

Vac sealing will help eliminate spoilage due to freezer burn but not if you have a power failure.

I've always felt I could approximate the freezer life of vac sealed foods by wrapping them tightly in plastic wrap then put then in Ziplocks, so I couldn't justify the cost. Of course, I sacrifice the convenience of quick defrosting under water and other uses.

Consider checking out Goodwill, Salvation Army and other second-hand stores. As I mentioned above, I got mine for $2.
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Old 09-27-2016, 08:41 PM   #35
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Btw, Andy is a retired accountant
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Old 09-27-2016, 09:19 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Bags are expensive, specially if you buy the brand name ones.
Dollar store bags, here, and reuse them till they bleed, but still spend a bunch on them as most of my food planning involves bulk buying and storing food.

Got Garlic, says you're an accountant. So yeah I'm doing a cost benefit analysis.

I'm trying to justify the sunk cost of the apparatus, with the savings, because, yeah I do see a lot go out the window in bags.

I can do the same thing, with a good tight wrap in freezer paper, wrap it in gaffer tape, and put it in a bag. I think that is where you are going with the 'saran wrap and bag plan'.

I suggest heavy freezer paper, about the same cost, and holds up better than saran wrap particularly if it gets wet. I've had a pound of ground beef swim in water for a week that was at 37ish (best I could keep it below 40 was throwing ice at it so it had to take a swim) It was together and edible. Plastic wrap tends to fall apart. Paper holds well,

Now vacpacs, seem to be indestructible.
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Old 09-27-2016, 09:22 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erehweslefox View Post
...I suggest heavy freezer paper, about the same cost, and holds up better than saran wrap particularly if it gets wet. I've had a pound of ground beef swim in water for a week that was at 37ish (best I could keep it below 40 was throwing ice at it so it had to take a swim) It was together and edible. Plastic wrap tends to fall apart...
I tend not to keep my plastic wrapped food in water.
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Old 09-27-2016, 10:39 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
I tend not to keep my plastic wrapped food in water.
Well it started out as ice I mean I'm not an idiot.

I do always plan, when camping, that all my ice becomes water.

Not recommended project for daily storage.

Wife and I were camping, so you tend to refrigerate by dumping more ice in. I like keeping things in bags and freezer wrapped but all of them eventually get a wet bath. freezer paper seems to hold up well. And you dump out the water, but the ice is just making more.

Kind of hope vacuum sealer is a good solution for this need.

The problem is I'd be on a camping trip and have all this plastic, but I'm used to taking a bag out with us. Usual.

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Old 09-27-2016, 11:57 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erehweslefox View Post
Well it started out as ice I mean I'm not an idiot...
I wasn't suggesting you are.

Just that your needs are different from mine. I like plastic wrap because it clings and conforms to the irregular shapes of foods to keep air away from the product.

No doubt a vac sealed product would be ideal for camping but you already have that problem solved with the freezer paper, etc.

My bottom line is this. Vac sealers are a great convenience but not necessary. Home cooks and campers can get by without. That said, it can be useful and fun to use.
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Old 09-28-2016, 12:13 PM   #40
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I'm a Costco member and I do agree you don't find bargain meat prices there, but you will find quality meat. I usually buy Choice beef on sale at Ralph's (Kroger's) at much lower prices but they're usually not as good as what you'll find at Costco for an equivalent grade of meat.
I guess you get what you pay for in these instances.
I have found cost and quality to be the main reason I buy most all meat at Costco. NY Strip, Ribeye and most all steaks run about 2-3 dollars less a pound. They are also superior to our grocery store.
I also never bought the ground beef as it seemed to lean. I have since found out after trying it, it too is superior to anything I can buy at the grocery store. It makes way better chili and taco meat. Hardly any water (juice released) and browns up very nicely. I'm sold. I have not tried it for burgers.

I finally tried Costco's whole chickens. While large (about 4-6 LB's) to be excellent.
I made fried chicken last Sunday and my wife commented on how good it was. I did nothing different other than using Costco chicken.

Hey Andy, have you tried the frozen wing sections at Costco again? Kirkland brand.
I bought a bag last trip and they were huge!
Just thought I would check in as you told me you experience was small wing sections.
Now that football is thankfully back on, they had many many bags of them!
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